These crispy ground beef tacos are filled with seasoned meat, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. An easy dinner recipe that the whole family will enjoy, even your pickiest eaters! Includes a recipe for ground beef taco seasoning.

My beef tacos are so much better than the fast food version, especially when you use homemade taco seasoning instead of the store bought kind. Best of all, this dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes.

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Ground beef tacos in hard taco shells topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.

When I’m looking for an easy dinner that I know my kids will happily eat, I often turn to tacos. I make these ground beef tacos almost every week, they’re so fast to make! I put out a condiments bar and let everyone assemble their perfect taco, this is a great recipe for entertaining too.

How do you make taco meat?

To make taco meat, you’ll need ground beef, taco seasoning, an onion and canned tomatoes. The onion and beef are cooked until browned, then are seasoned with homemade taco spice and tomatoes.

A skillet of ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, onions and tomatoes.

I use petite diced tomatoes which I drain before adding to the meat. I like the flavor and texture that the tomatoes add, but if you’re not a big fan of tomatoes they can easily be omitted.

How do you make taco seasoning?

I use homemade taco seasoning for this recipe, it only takes 5 minutes to make and tastes so much better than the store bought taco seasoning packets. For homemade taco seasoning, simply mix together chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, oregano and red pepper flakes.

A mixture of spices to make homemade taco seasoning.

What is the best ground beef for tacos?

I like to use 90% lean ground beef for tacos. The meat is flavorful and tender, yet not overly greasy. You can also use an 80% lean ground beef, but you’ll have a lot more fat to drain off at the end of the cooking process.

After your meat is cooked, it’s time to start filling your tacos! I use the traditional hard shells here, but soft flour tortillas will also work great.

Crispy ground beef tacos with an assortment of toppings like lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese.

What are the best toppings for tacos?

I typically put out a toppings bar and include some or all of the following taco toppings

  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Minced red onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Olives
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Diced avocado

After your tacos are assembled, it’s time to eat! Sometimes I make a double batch of the ground beef taco filling and freeze half for another night for an even speedier dinner option.

Taco shells filled with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese.

More taco recipes you’ll love

5 from 32 votes

Ground Beef Tacos

AuthorSara Welch
Ground beef tacos in hard taco shells topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.
These crispy ground beef tacos are filled with seasoned meat, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. An easy dinner recipe that the whole family will enjoy, even your pickiest eaters! Includes a recipe for ground beef taco seasoning.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Serves 4


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef I use 90% lean
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes drained
  • 8 taco shells
  • assorted toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onion and shredded cheese


  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. 
  • Add the ground beef and break up with a spatula.
  • Add the onion to the pan.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is done and onion is soft, 5-6 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.
  • Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir to coat the meat in the seasonings.
  • Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon the beef into the taco shells and add toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Serve immediately.


Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 715IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3.9mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. I didn’t have the envelope of taco seasoning, so I googled beef tacos. I have made one of your recipes before, so I knew I could trust your recipe. I don’t like to make recipes from random bloggers. I have had such success with your recipes. I had all of the ingredients in the house for your yummy recipe. We couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out. I will never buy remade seasoning again. It came together so quickly. My husband ate two servings so we have a little bit left for lunch tomorrow.

  2. 5 stars
    OMG!!! This recipe was AWESOME. My family and I have made it a tradition to have tacos on Tuesdays. I must admit, those taco seasoning envelopes have gotten a little old, and to be honest, I didn’t even eat tacos last Tuesday because of it. So, I figured if I was tired of those envelopes, so was my family. In order to save all of us from further boredom, I went on a search to spice up our taco Tuesday nights, and I’m so glad I did, because not only did I eat tacos tonight, my teenagers devoured their plates. The spices in this recipe was a PERFECT combination.

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks that was perfect !
    I Look forward to more delightful ideas . Ps keeping it simple always works best .

    Best regards- Desmond.
    Johannesburg, South Africa

  4. 5 stars
    The best recipe ever! Just added some home made salsa and grated cheese and they were irresistible! I would definitely make these again and again and again

    1. Yes you can make the meat ahead of time and reheat! I wouldn’t try to reheat filled tacos as the shells would get soggy.

    2. I made this & it was delish… I used turkey meat tho but OmGeee! I just wish I cud submit a picture. Tasty as it wanna be

  5. I am a major taco girl. I cant eat these with beef due to my new pescatarian diet but i can substitute it with shrimp!

  6. Lovely tacos you’ve got there. And your proteins look so perfectly cooked. Love too that you’ve got lots of spices for your taco.

  7. 5 stars
    Tacos! Who wouldn’t love that? This is so perfect this weekend. I’ll try this one out!

  8. these would be perfect for a tacos bar that my friend wants to do this upcoming weekend for mothers day i am gonna pass this along to her, thanks! tacos are the best.